Hammersmith Reflections – People who aren’t like us

I was sitting in the sunshine on a bench in Ravenscourt Park having a coffee when I noticed people waving from another bench on the far side of the Tea House. It was Diane, who lives locally near Hammersmith Grove, and a couple of other people.

Diane comes over. We haven’t seen each other for a while. She’s pleased to see me and shrieks in delight.  I am delighted to bump in to her too. Diane smiles. You should see that smile; it speaks volumes. She puts her head on my shoulder and we reconnect and catch up. It’s one of those friendships that transcends time, so we always pick up where we left off.

I almost forgot to tell you (but does it really need saying?) that Diane doesn’t use words to communicate. She spent her formative years in Leavesden, a Victorian institution for people with the label ‘mental handicap’.

I’ve learned a great deal from Diane about how to communicate better, and from how she has dealt with what life has thrown at her. I am richer for knowing her as a friend.

Serendipitously, I was browsing the BBC website and came across Crossing Divides: The benefits of having friends who aren’t ‘just like us’ By Prof Miles Hewstone University of Oxford – 22 April 2018:

“For most of us, the people we see on a regular basis – our social network – are a defining part of our lives. Friends help us understand our place in the world and research shows that strong friendships are associated with reduced anxiety. But there is a growing body of evidence that suggests people tend to make friends with people who are similar to them.

It may well be that we could all benefit from widening the circles we move in. For example, mixing with a diverse set of people can stimulate creativity and benefits both the individual and society.”

The Charity’s 400th anniversary year is all about enabling connections between different people, different communities, and different generations.  From Enigma lunches, and the Ethnic Communities Oral History publications, to the intergenerational project, the Disability Arts Festival, Dancing for Joy, Open Gardens, our very own Gardener’s Question Time, and our new campaign with Dr Edwards & Bishop King’s Fulham Charity, called UNITED in H&F.

Our hope is that these joyful opportunities will provide unexpected and chance encounters for you to meet new friends and neighbours who may not be just like you.

Tim Hughes
Chief Executive & Clerk to the Trustees
Hammersmith United Charities

May 2018

 

 

Hammersmith Reflections – Why we need art

Guest blog entry by Nora Laraki

 

Most of you know me as the Administrator of Hammersmith United Charities, the first point of contact when walking through our doors in Sycamore Gardens. But since 2017 I have also dedicated my time to do a PhD and dive with this research project deeper into the art world. (more…)

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Hammersmith Reflections – Four hundred years of support, and counting!

This month we continued our celebrations of the charity’s 400 (more…)

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UNITED is hiring!

UNITED in Hammersmith and Fulham is looking for a new Programme Development Manager!

Download the recruitment pack on the right, or visit their website: unitedhf.org/articles/were-hiring/

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Hammersmith Reflections – Thoughts from a New Trustee…

Every one of us has the capability to contribute to society, and to those less well off (financially, socially, physically etc), than ourselves. Having been involved in the running of businesses for a little while I was keen to donate my skills and knowledge. I had been involved with one local Hammersmith charity and having “done my time”, was keen to find another opportunity within the locality. The people and environment in which I live are important to me. Hammersmith has numerous problems and issues – and to contribute to solve a just very few of them gives me a lot of personal satisfaction.

Shepherds Bush Market

Hammersmith United Charities as we all know has been around for a long time (400 years to be precise). But what attracted me was the vision for the future. HUC has listened to the people of the Borough, through its “Big Conversation” and from that set out a real plan. This is a charity that has a long term vision for the future, is run and organised by some very professional people – and one that I wanted to be involved in.

Housing is a massive problem in our Borough. Hammersmith United Charities already provides really lovely sheltered accommodation to over 90 residents – all of whom would be at the mercy of private landlords without our apartments. But to be involved with a project to increase our stock and offer long term housing solutions to even more in the borough is an exciting prospect. Giving something back, no matter how small the contribution, that will last for many decades is a satisfying thought.

Two Residents at Sycamore House

But the charity isn’t just about providing sheltered housing. Over the four centuries of its existence the financial resources of the Charity have grown. This means that in 2018 we will be donating over £400,000 of our income to other local charities and support groups. Making real contributions to real people in borough and helping to improve their lives – whether it be through nutritious meals for homeless people; music for toddlers with language delay; counselling for people who have experienced domestic abuse; or opportunities for entrepreneurs to support older people Hammersmith United Charities makes a real contribution to people’s lives in the Borough – something that I am very proud of. And with the setting up of the combined UNITED charity something we want to do even more with the support of the local community.

W12 Festival 2016

Hammersmith United Charities is an exciting organisation with real plans, to make an even bigger contribution, to our local community. Something that excites me – and something I am proud to be part of.


David Bailey
Trustee
June 2018

 

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